November 26th, 2019

NDP MPP Wayne Gates calls for OHIP to cover prostate cancer screening tests

NDP MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls) has called on the government to provide OHIP coverage for prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing for prostate cancer.

“Early detection of prostate cancer saves lives. When detected early, the survival rate for prostate cancer is close to 100 per cent. Ontario is currently one of only two Canadian provinces that do not cover the cost of the PSA test for men upon physician referral,” said Wayne Gates MPP this morning at a press conference at the Ontario legislature.

“By providing this blood test free of charge under OHIP, lives will be saved in Ontario.”

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer to affect Canadian men with one in nine men diagnosed in their lifetime. In 2019, an estimated 9,600 men in Ontario will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 1,500 will die of this disease.

Gates introduced a private member’s motion on OHIP coverage for PSA testing that will be debated at the Ontario legislature Tuesday afternoon.

His motion is supported by Prostate Cancer Canada and Movember.

“At a time when Ontario is facing a hallway medicine crisis, this early-stage test will reduce the pressure on overcrowded hospitals and save money in the long-term,” added Gates.

“It is time for the government to ensure this life-saving test is available for free to men who need it in this province.”

On average, a late stage diagnosis costs $66,000 more than if the prostate cancer was caught early. If all men with Stage 4 prostate cancer were diagnosed earlier, this is a savings of over $60 million year.


“The mortality rate for prostate cancer has been cut in half in 25 years –those lives saved can be attributed to earlier detection through widespread use of the PSA test and improved treatments. We lose three of four men when prostate cancer is detected late. The PSA test is a crucial first step to catch the disease early, when it is most treatable. Prostate Cancer Canada is committed to ensuring all Canadians have equal access to this life-saving test, regardless of where they live or their income levels.”

Dr. Stuart Edmonds, Vice President, Research, Health Promotion and Survivorship at Prostate Cancer Canada

“Prostate cancer affects too many Ontario men and their families. The good news is that if caught early there is a high survival rate. The challenging news, however, is that we need men to have greater awareness that a simple PSA test is the first step towards early detection, and better outcomes for everyone.”

Todd Minerson, Country Director, Movember Canada